The Perks That Have (and Have Not) Returned to Disney World

If you’re paying big bucks for a Disney World vacation, then you’re probably going to want all the perks you can get!

There are so many cool perks at Disney World!

Disney World is home to some great perks, whether you’re staying onsite or just visiting for the day. Today, we’re breaking down some of the perks that the resort is known for and discussing their status — are they still available right now?

FastPass+

Before the pandemic, FastPass+ was a free perk for guests of Disney World, where you could schedule time windows to skip the standby line on select attractions. The system didn’t return after the parks reopened but was instead recently replaced by Disney Genie+, a paid version for $15 per ticket, per day.

The FastPass kiosks have been out of use for a while!

The Genie+ system does, however, come with a free Genie counterpart that helps you plan your day in the parks. All you do is log into your account in the My Disney Experience app, put in your interests, and it will help formulate a schedule for the day. Both new features aren’t quite as straightforward as FastPass+ was, so we highly recommend doing some research ahead of your trip and practicing with the My Disney Experience app ahead of time.

Click Here to Learn More About Disney Genie and Genie+!

Dining plan

One of the questions we get asked daily is if the Disney dining plan is coming back soon. Sadly, we have to say that it’s not available for purchase right now. Disney confirmed in June 2021 that the Disney Dining Plan would return, but we STILL haven’t heard any specifics on when.

The dining plan is still in limbo!

Right now, you’ll be paying for individual meals out of pocket, so make sure to add that to your travel budget! You may want to spend more time planning where and when you want to eat to stay in your budget, and our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining is a fantastic resource for that (use code WDW2022 for 25% off)!

Click Here for Everything We Know About the Return of the Dining Plan!

Extra magic hours

Extra Magic Hours are no longer available in the way that they were pre-COVID, but a new perk has arrived in their place — Early Theme Park Entry. With this offering, Disney Resort guests can enter any theme park 30 minutes before offsite guests, every day of the week.

Get that rope drop in!

During that time, select attractions and offerings are open (make sure to check the list of rides available in each park) and you can get a head start on knocking out some of the most popular things in the park. As an added bonus for Deluxe Resort guests, Extended Evening Hours are offered on select nights at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and, occasionally, Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Click Here to Learn More About Early Theme Park Entry!

Parking trams

Usually, a free tram service runs from the entrance of the theme parks to the parking lotbut as of writing, those trams are only running in the Magic Kingdom parking lots.

We can’t wait to have trams back!

Right now, you’ll have to walk to your car when visiting EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (don’t forget to take a picture of where you parked!). Or, if you’d like to shorten your number of steps, then you can pay extra to upgrade your parking. Disney says parking lot trams will be returning to operation at its other parks throughout 2022.

Click Here for Everything You Need to Know About Parking at Walt Disney World

Character Cavalcades

One of the perks that has come from the pandemic is the new character cavalcades around the Disney World parks! Since meet and greets have only returned in a modified fashion as “character sightings,” you can find some of your favorite Disney pals driving or floating around the parks.

Mickey and Minnie are so cute in their safari gear!

These cavalcades (or flotillas or motorcades) will happen periodically throughout the day, weather permitting. Some of our favorites are at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, where you can spot some rare Disney friends like Pocahontas and Meeko or Disney Junior pals! Both cavalcades and parades are currently being offered in Magic Kingdom.

What’s the 50th Anniversary Cavalcade Like in Magic Kingdom? Click Here to Find Out!

Park hopping

Park Hopping returned to Disney World on January 1st, 2021, but when it came back, it came with some restrictions. You must have a Park Hopper ticket to visit two parks in one day, and you’ll have to follow a specific set of guidelines.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a hard park pass to snag!

Guests can only hop during Park Hopping hours, which begin at 2PM each day. You’ll also need to make a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first park you plan to visit, and you’ll need to scan into that park before heading to your second.

Click Here to Get More Details on Park Hopping!

Free Magic Bands

In the past, guests of Disney World Resort hotels or those renewing an annual pass would receive their choice of complimentary solid-colored MagicBandbut that perk went away at the beginning of this year.

Magic Bands aren’t really necessary anymore.

Now, if you’d like to use a MagicBand, you’ll have to recycle an old one or pay out of pocket for the style of your choice. (Resort guests and Annual Passholders will get a discount on select styles.) With the addition of Disney’s MagicMobile service it is now easier than ever to access your park ticket on your phone. Disney’s new MagicBand service, MagicBand+ will debut are coming to Disney World as well.

Want to Learn About MagicMobile? Click Here!

Magic Express

Disney’s Magical Express was a free transportation service that picked guests up from the Orlando International Airport and dropped them off at their resort. Sadly, this service has been discontinued.

Disney’s Magical Express, we miss you!

Some alternative bus services have popped up you also have the option of a taxi or rideshare service. Another note for our wallets — it looks like we’ll be paying to get to our hotels!

Here Are Some Alternate Options for Getting to Your Resort!

Free resort transportation

But while Magical Express has gone away, other free transportation options at Disney World are here to stay! Any guest is welcome to use the Disney Skyliner, the buses, the monorail, the boats, or the walking paths around the resort.

The Disney Skyliner has been a game changer in transportation.

The vast transportation network makes it SO much easier to get from place to place, and sometimes it’s just fun to travel around and see the sights! (The Disney Skyliner is great for that!)

Click Here to Learn More About Your Disney World Transportation Options!

There you have it — that’s the lowdown on all the perks currently available (and not available) at Walt Disney World Resort. Stay tuned to DFB for the latest reopening information and news so that you can stay up-to-date!

What Are the Perks of Staying Onsite? Click Here to Find Out More!


Don’t miss out on Any Disneyfun!

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With mini reviews of every single restaurant, bar, lounge, kiosk and more; an entire chapter on the best snacks at Disney World; full Disney Dining Plan analysis (and how to get FREE dining); and a full chapter on discounts and deals; you’ll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet.

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What’s your favorite perk at Disney World? Tell us in the comments!

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